Note: This article will deal with questions about the PGH Santa products and company, that moms and dads may have, and not so much with the very much more important questions that your child will have for Santa. I will handle those myself, in person or virtually!
Who is PGH Santa?
The short answer is that my name is Jonny Kigin, and I live in Pittsburgh, PA with my family. The longer answer can be found here.
Is it appropriate to tip? Can I?
It is not necessary to tip PGH Santa.
But I will not send it back! If you do want to tip me, please don’t do so in front of the children. You may use either method of payment that I have established:
The best tip is feedback, and the best way to thank me is by sharing your experience with anyone you can…
When do I pay for a video/photo of my visit?
This relates to Virtual Visits only. At Home Visits and other in-person visits, you may take as many videos or pictures as you would like (just get my good side!)
You may include payment for your recording and photo when you initially pay for your virtual visit. And you may pay anytime up until the time of the visit. You may also elect to wait and see how things go, and order the video/photo after the visit. I typically dispose of all recordings after about a week, so don’t delay!
You may use either method of payment that I have established:
For more information on recordings/photos please click
How soon after my visit will I receive my photo/video?
I, personally, produce the recordings and photos by hand. Because of this, the closer we get to Christmas the longer this may take.
Another factor that will contribute to the length of time it takes is when you order it. Your order will be placed in queue depending on when your order was received.
For the record, this year I have not had a recording deliver later than 48 hours after the visit so far. And the average delivery is a few hours.
For more information on recordings/photos please click
How long have you been portraying Santa?
I have been “playing” and representing Santa by donning a red suit, wig, boots, etc for about 16 years. My wife and I, while serving on the activities committee in our church, found a very nice suit on clearance somewhere, and she said, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have this for the next church party so we don’t have to find one?” I, of course, thought she meant, “It would be nice to have a suit to lend to the poor sap who gets volun-told to dress up and have kids sit on his lap.” She, of course, actually meant, “It would be nice not to have to ask anyone else to dress up, since you already have the suit and can do it yourself.” The rest is history.
2020 was actually my first year PROFESSIONALLY portraying Santa Claus. It just seemed like the right time! For the humorous story of why, please click here.
For the ins and outs, behind the scenes, and random thoughts of being a Santa Claus Portrayal Artist, please check out my blog.
Why do I have to pay for an extra child if we can get the whole visit done in 10 minutes?
First of all, this is a very good question.
I recommend 10 minutes per child as a guide. When doing virtual visits, we have a wonderful opportunity that we don’t have during in person visits. A little longer than a mall visit, but not as complex as a home visit, 10 minutes gives us the chance to experience several things, but the most important is the interaction and relationship. I want your child to be able to connect with Santa. This usually takes more than just a couple minutes.
So I have standardized the pricing to be based on time and number of children. There are several exceptions to this:
– Younger siblings who will not speak
– Older siblings who are there to support the magic and will not interact as a primary focus
– Situations to be discussed between Santa and parent that involve disability.
Why did my visit end before all my time was up?
This has everything to do with the magic.
A visit without magic is just another Zoom call. The magic is very important to a PGH Santa experience.
I recommend 10 minutes per child as a guide. This gives us all a chance to get set up, make sure we can see and hear each other, and then get the magic started. Some of that administrative work is built into the times.
Moreover, all children are different. And every situation is different. I have spent much of my life as Santa off script. Feeling out the situation. Shooting from the hip. As Santa, one of my gifts is knowing when the magic is about to end, or has already.
Many, if not most, of my calls will end shortly before their time is up. If you feel like you did not get what you paid for, then we can certainly make that right. I would imagine that the real issue was not the amount of time spent, but the experience itself. And not having a magical experience is not okay.
The times are in place to maintain a structure to establish when I can speak to whom. But I don’t go into a visit punching a clock. I go into a visit to make magic.
I go into a visit to touch the heart of a child.
Is there a Mrs Claus? Can she visit too?
There is a Mrs Claus and she is the most wonderful woman in the world.
As of now, Mrs Claus is so busy keeping the North Pole running, with all that entails, that she isn’t able to come on visits with me.
However, we plan to do some visits together when simpler times come along.
When do you start taking reservations for 2021?
I will start booking for 2021 in February.
However, if there is a need to secure a specific date and time early, I can reserve the time now.
When I do reserve/book, I ask for a deposit to be placed. This is generally half the total fee.
Do you do any Santa appearances free of charge?
The short answer is YES.
The longer answer involves when, for who, and why. Every year I budget a portion of my time for non-profits and organizations who cannot afford to pay a professional Santa. But that time is limited and usually books quickly.
If you are interested in booking PGH Santa for your organization, please contact me directly. Please include a description of the event, who the event/organization benefits, total audience, and any 501-C information.